Sometimes, a Jerk is Just a Jerk: The Difference Between a Bully and a Jerk

Sometimes, a Jerk is Just a Jerk: The Difference Between a Bully and a Jerk

Oftentimes, we run into people who are just rude and unpleasant jerks. But just being rude to us, just treating us hurtfully, just making us wish they’d go away does not make them bullies.

All bullies, regardless of age, deep down at their core are cowards. The difference between  young bullies (child/teen) and adult bullies is that the young bully selects targets who are somehow weaker (smaller, less capable in sports, less successful in school, or even worse, mentally challenged or physically challenged, such as a kid who’s diabetic or wheelchair-bound, or God forbid sick with a condition like childhood cancer)—while adult bullies target people who have what they themselves want but feel they can’t have (those who are well-liked, outgoing, confident, or are successful in their job, marriage, or family life). Adult bullies target people because they feel those people outshine them, making them a threat to the bully’s sense of superiority.

As an adult, I was fortunate to have never suffered bullying in the workplace until just a few years ago. In the places I’d worked, I was usually the one who was well-liked by my supervisors and coworkers because I worked hard and did my best to treat everyone with respect. This isn’t to say I didn’t run into a few jerks, gossips, and troublemakers—because I did. But these people usually treated everyone like dirt, not just me, so these were not cases of bullying (as much as I may have argued differently at the time). With different targets and different methods, you may not know what to do when an adult bully comes calling. So allow me to provide you some insight.

First, there is no age limit on bullying. It does not stop after high school graduation, nor does it stop at age 18, 21, 40, or even 60. The majority of people will have at least one encounter with a workplace bully in their lifetime. So if you’ve never been the target of an ultra-dominating and overbearing boss or coworkers, chances are, unfortunately, that you will sometime in the future.

So how do we distinguish a bully from just a simple jerk?

A BULLY singles out one person or small group out of the whole of an organization, company, or geographic population. Bullying also involves repetition, with repeated attacks against the same individual or group over a long period of time (typically three 3 months to several years). And others, even total strangers, are usually encouraged to join in. Bullying is relentless. It’s a campaign with a goal: to destroy the target’s good name and standing in a community—relationships, family, career, finances, businesses—and to ruin the target’s self-esteem and sense of security and well-being, to eventually ruin the target’s life.

A JERK has no certain target. Jerks don’t care who you are or where you come from. They just have personalities that suck! They treat everyone in general like dirt, and only insult you because you’re there. A BULLY will actively pursue you, and make it his or her mission in life to destroy you. A jerk, on the other hand, will never put in the effort to pursue anyone.

A JERK’S harassment is random and sporadic, both in terms of show he or she harasses and when. It’s usually not repetitive and is not directed at any certain person or group. A jerk’s harassment isn’t personal and is aimed simply at whoever happens to be close to the jerk’s crosshairs. Everyone, even the popular and highly competent, will experience a jerk. A BULLY makes it personal, always acting with an agenda and a specific goal. Only some unfortunates end up a bully’s target.

A JERK is afraid you might want something from him or her and uses harassment to keep people away so they don’t ask. A BULLY wants something from YOU.




About the Author

Cherie White

Cherie White, both a writer and author, joined the team after being discovered by Brian through her own personal blog and through social media. She has been writing ever since she was ten years old and has a love for writing articles, short stories and novels. She became intrigued with the new Pyngby app because it helps victims pinpoint victims and their harassers for easy protection and litigation if need be. Because she experienced severe bullying from sixth grade until changing schools during her last year of high school, she has a passion for spreading bullying awareness and helping those who are bullied and abused today. Her goal is to bring down the suicide rate among bullied children, teens and young adults. Her debut novel, “From Victim to Victor” is available now at LuLu. Cherie looks forward to helping victims through Watchdog Creative.

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